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Today Is The Day
Get ready for it.
Okay Then, That Was Unexpected...
Church Art Shouldn't Make You Say "Blech!"
Or cringe.
Cardinal Urges Priests To Liven Up Sermons
I got some ideas...
New Translation Objections Are Becoming More Ridiculous
Grasping at straws...
This Comes As No Surprise
Up with the ex-communicated!
Things A Catholic Ought Never Say
Watch your mouth!
Sister Patricia: On Seven Quick-Takes Friday
Catching up with Sr Pat.
Just Thought You'd Like To Know...
A public service announcement.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Various Approaches To Theology

I learned something the other day. No, it's true! I'm being totally serious - I actually had my eyes opened to a whole new aspect of the Catholic faith I had, until that point, never knew existed. Despite the fact that I sometimes come across as a know-it-all, the fact remains that even I am capable of learning stuff.

Here's how it happened - I was reading Terry's blog Abbey Roads last week, and a regular reader of his left the following comment:
Terry, this is a good exposition of what I'm sure you know is called the "classicist approach" to moral theology. It's an approach that sees theology as static and permanent. Thus the sexual norms enunciated in the fifth or sixteenth centuries continue to apply absolutely in the twenty-first century.

Yet there's another approach to theology that the church recognizes, that being the "historically conscious" approach. This approach sees theology as dynamic, evolving, changing and particular.
I was flabbergasted - all these years, and I had never heard of such concepts as "classicist" and "historically conscious" approaches to theology. I mean, I've been Catholic all my life - how come it wasn't until now, after nearly 46 years of existence, that I finally learned of these concepts through the words of a smug, intellectualized blog reader?

I'm pretty sure I stick to the "classicist" approach, mostly because I've seen Catholycs rely on the "historically conscious" approach. A lot. It only makes sense that my approach has to be the opposite of theirs. When I think of "classicist", I think of the Ten Commandments, the Catechism and stuff like sin, Hell and sacrifice. When I think of the other, I conjure images of Curran, the National Catholic Distorter, and stuff like liturgical dancing, so-called gay marriage and social justice.

The discovery spurred me into action - surely there had to be more than just these two approaches, right? Did others exist? Where could I find them? Who espoused them?

I directed the AoftheA Researching The Various Approaches To Theology Department to scour the Innerwebs, university theology departments, all 30,000 Protestant denominations and Catholyc blogs, and provide a synopsis on their findings.

In addition to the two approaches already cited, this is what they uncovered:
  • Defeatist Theology - these Catholics interpret current Church actions as proof that is is heading down the path of irrelevance and imminent destruction. And they're happy about it. They want the Church defeated. They can't wait to see the hierarchy vanish (or get arrested, whichever works) and replaced with a lay-run model of Being Church. In fact, a lot of them are meeting in Detroit in June - the American Catholic Council.
  • Personalist Theology - these Catholics base their thoughts, ideas and opinions on matters of faith and morals purely on their own feelings the moment they are occurring. Such folks tend to be highly irrational, as it's quite possible that what they believe on a Saturday afternoon upon awaking after an all-night bender, sometimes involving "committed safe sex" with someone they just met, will be completely different than what they profess to believe the following Sunday.
  • Self-oppressivism Theology - these Catholics blame the Church and the Bible and just about anyone else for their problems instead of owning up to their sins. They seek redress and compensation for their state of life, and refuse to acknowledge that their condition is due to their mistakes.
  • Spirivaticanical Theology - these Catholics believe that all Church teaching was radically changed at the Second Vatican Council, and anything that was said or taught prior to that has been nullified, and no longer holds for "thinking" Catholics.
  • Intermittentive Theology - these Catholics go to Mass when they get around to it - usually at Christmas and Easter - and have learned about their faith by watching the History Channel or reading the Huffington Post. They occasionally make erroneous statements about the Crusades or the Inquisition during conversations to show how much they think they know. They also try to quickly change the subject when someone who actually knows the faith starts talking.
  • Vaginal Theology - these Catholics (mostly women, but not all) want to tell everyone that the Church is wrong for oppressing women and not letting them become priests, but they tell the Church it has no right telling them not to use contraception or support abortion rights. This differs from 'feminist spirituality' in that 'feminist spirituality' is completely ridiculous, while this is just merely ridiculous.
  • Ecological Theology - we all know what this is.
I hope this list is helpful to you. I'm sure this is not an exhaustive list. And I suppose that many of these can be included under the "historically conscious" approach (which is just another way of saying "I wanna do what current society accepts and says is cool, and not what the Church teaches"). Perhaps you've run into people who demonstrate some or all of these variant approaches. You'll know right away, because they'll accuse you of utilizing the "classicist" approach to theology. Just smile and be glad - because you'll be in excellent company. Y'know - like the saints, the martyrs, the Holy Father...

I'm Still Around

Lest you fear I've been abducted by agents of the White House's Progressive Media & Online Response department, or have become stricken with an incurable disease, or any other scenario of doom or demise - you can relax. Posting's been light of late due to a particularly nasty sinus implosion that felled me on Wednesday, making concentration difficult, and the demands of the recent Memorial Day weekend. All that relaxation can be taxing!

To reward your patience, I've put up a rather humorous Youtube of a talking dog. I'm sure everyone's seen it, but because I like it, you must watch it. Again.

Regular posting will resume shortly.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Your Feel-Good Video For Today

Yeah, it's 9+ minutes, but it's totally worth it. Enjoy!

"The Grand Rapids LipDub Video was filmed May 22nd, with 5,000 people, and involved a major shutdown of downtown Grand Rapids, which was filled with marching bands, parades, weddings, motorcades, bridges on fire, and helicopter take offs. It is the largest and longest LipDub video, to date.

This video was created as an official response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a "dying city." We disagreed strongly, and wanted to create a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially, in this great city. We felt Don McLean's "American Pie," a song about death, was in the end, triumphant and filled to the brim with life and hope." - Rob Bliss, Director & Executive Producer(Source)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Teens File Lawsuit Over Climate Change

And the defendant? The US Government.

From LiveScience: NASA Scientist Helps Teens Sue Government Over Climate Change by Wynne Parry
By failing to take action against global warming, the federal government has violated its legal obligation to protect the atmosphere as a resource that belongs to everyone, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court last week.

Five of the plaintiffs are teenagers, who have a "profound interest in ensuring our climate remains stable enough to ensure their right to a livable future," according to the suit filed May 4, which names a number of federal officials — from Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, to Robert Gates of the Defense Department — as defendants.

The suit cites climate calculations, and is supported by NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who has a history of speaking out forcefully on the hazards of human-caused global warming. Hansen told LiveScience he had been interested in going to court over the topic in recent years.

Climate change - children hardest hit.

This story proves the point that when liberals can't get what they want either through legislation or by winning in the arena of ideas, they resort to litigation.

But why sue the US Government? I guess we're responsible for the whole world's atmosphere now.

The suit is based on the Public Trust Doctrine, a long-standing legal doctrine that states it is the government's duty to protect the resources that are essential for our collective survival and prosperity, such as rivers, groundwater, or in this case, atmosphere, according to Our Children's Trust, a nonprofit advocacy organization behind the litigation.

"So far politics have governed what governments are doing about the climate crisis, and the Public Trust Doctrine is about putting the science back into climate protection," said Julia Olson, director of Our Children's Trust. "And that is what we are asking courts to do."

"Putting science back into climate protection"? How about including science in the first place?

The group is behind a number of other lawsuits filed against state governments, including Alaska and Arizona, based on the same legal reasoning and with other young plaintiffs, according to Olson.

"We have kids in Alaska who are seeing their glaciers melting and their homes becoming unstable because of the melting permafrost, and kids in Arizona where it is becoming hotter and drier. … They are already experiencing drought and less ability to grow their own food," she said.
Appealing to emotions by having kids included in the lawsuit. Par for the course.
The federal lawsuit discusses how the individual teenage plaintiffs have been or will be affected by climate change. For example, if no change is made to our current rate of greenhouse gas emissions, within 16-year-old plaintiff Alec L's lifetime, sea level is expected to cover the waste water treatment center, the power generating station, the freeway, beaches and hundreds of homes in his hometown, Ventura, Calif.
Oh really? That's all speculation and prophecy, rather than facts. Scare tactics.

The sad thing is, they'll probably find a sympathetic judge to hear the case.

Okay, so here's my question. Say they win their suit, aaaaaaannnd in 30 years time nothing changes in terms of Co2 levels, or temperature, or anything like that, and Alec's hometown is still hunky-dory (provided California hasn't fallen in the ocean by then). Can my teenage kids countersue these idiots for filing a frivolous lawsuit?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dodge Minivan Ad - What's Your Thought?

Okay, time for an informal poll. Watch the Dodge minivan ad, and answer the following: Is the ad trying to be funny, or is it subtly "anti-child"? Or neither? Discuss.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Doubling Down On Doomsday

Apparently, God was merciful.

That's Camping's story, and he's sticking with it. And the world will end in five months' time. Happy happy joy joy.

Humility is a virtue. Being in denial, though, is just plain stupid.

Genderless Child Being Raised By Brainless Parents

A story of a father and a mother and their innocent child that will ultimately suffer as a result of their stupidity.

From Parents Keep Child's Gender Secret
“So it’s a boy, right?” a neighbour calls out as Kathy Witterick walks by, her four month old baby, Storm, strapped to her chest in a carrier.

Each week the woman asks the same question about the baby with the squishy cheeks and feathery blond hair.

She’s used to it. The neighbours know Witterick and her husband, David Stocker, are raising a genderless baby. But they don’t pretend to understand it.

While there’s nothing ambiguous about Storm’s genitalia, they aren’t telling anyone whether their third child is a boy or a girl.

The only people who know are Storm’s brothers, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, a close family friend and the two midwives who helped deliver the baby in a birthing pool at their Toronto home on New Year’s Day.

“When the baby comes out, even the people who love you the most and know you so intimately, the first question they ask is, ‘Is it a girl or a boy?’” says Witterick, bouncing Storm, dressed in a red-fleece jumper, on her lap at the kitchen table.

“If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” says Stocker. [who in the world does that? What planet are these people from? And how can anyone "get to know" a newborn infant? They don't exactly emerge with opinions and preferences. Asking the child's gender is a natural question, not a societal construct.]

When Storm was born, the couple sent an email to friends and family: “We've decided not to share Storm's sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm's lifetime (a more progressive place? ...).”

Their announcement was met with stony silence. Then the deluge of criticisms began. Not just about Storm, but about how they were parenting their other two children.

The grandparents were supportive, but resented explaining the gender-free baby to friends and co-workers. They worried the children would be ridiculed. Friends said they were imposing their political and ideological values on a newborn. Most of all, people said they were setting their kids up for a life of bullying in a world that can be cruel to outsiders.

Witterick and Stocker believe they are giving their children the freedom to choose who they want to be, unconstrained by social norms about males and females. Some say their choice is alienating.

At four months old, it's far too early in Storm's life to definitively state that the kid is harmed. But wait a few years. Because it appears the older brothers are set upon a path of eventual catastrophe.

“What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious,” says Stocker.

Jazz and Kio have picked out their own clothes in the boys and girls sections of stores since they were 18 months old. Just this week, Jazz unearthed a pink dress at Value Village, which he loves because it “really poofs out at the bottom. It feels so nice.” The boys decide whether to cut their hair or let it grow.

Like all mothers and fathers, Witterick and Stocker struggle with parenting decisions. The boys are encouraged to challenge how they’re expected to look and act based on their sex.

Here's a description of Jazz, the five year old:

Jazz — soft-spoken, with a slight frame and curious brown eyes — keeps his hair long, preferring to wear it in three braids, two in the front and one in the back, even though both his parents have close-cropped hair. His favourite colour is pink, although his parents don’t own a piece of pink clothing between them. He loves to paint his fingernails and wears a sparkly pink stud in one ear, despite the fact his parents wear no nail polish or jewelry.
And here's a new one - the parents are proponents of a movement called "unschooling":

Witterick practices unschooling, an offshoot of home-schooling centred on the belief that learning should be driven by a child’s curiosity. There are no report cards, no textbooks and no tests. For unschoolers, learning is about exploring and asking questions, “not something that happens by rote from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays in a building with a group of same-age people, planned, implemented and assessed by someone else,” says Witterick. The fringe movement is growing. An unschooling conference in Toronto drew dozens of families last fall.

The kids have a lot of say in how their day unfolds. They decide if they want to squish through the mud, chase garter snakes in the park or bake cupcakes.

Okay - so they're kinda goofy in a lot of ways. Is that the new normal in Canada?

Every child, in one way or another, is subject to the ideological viewpoints of their parents. We're all screwed up to one degree or another, in spite of our parents' best intentions, or even due to the lack of any intentional parenting whatsoever. How we are raised has an impact upon on how we turn out as adults. It doesn't mean that Who We Are or How We Act is set in stone, but how we're raised affects us greatly.

But when it comes to not identifying the sex of the child - to the child itself (and granted, at four months, it makes little or no difference to the child) - in my opinion, puts undue burden on the child, and forces everyone else into accepting the parents' ideology. Storm's parents are more interested in proving a point at the expense of their son/daughter, rather than identify him/her as such. Has history proven that to be a harmful thing? Isn't it possible to rise above the stereotypes they seem so fearful of, while still announcing Storm's gender? Maybe they're weaker people than they seem to be, if they're incapable of doing so.

Hopefully the kids will turn out okay. Hopefully they won't come to resent the way they were raised - if they're being raised at all. I'm all for letting kids make decisions for themselves at an age-appropriate level, but the tenor of the article suggests that the parents are permitting much too much freedom.

They've jettisoned the societal norms of 'parenthood' here - and I fear nothing good will come of it. Time will tell.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sister Patricia On: The End?

(Sister Patricia Owens O'Flannery, OP, a post-modern pre-traditional omni-spiritual Dominican sister, periodically contributes to AoftheA. Today she has a major announcement.)

Hello, dear Readers! I have distressing news to report!

Mrs LarryD called me not too long ago, in a clear and total panic. I noticed straight away that her Crown Chakra was engaged in full combat with her Heart Chakra - in other words, not good! It took every ounce of my expertise and skill in deep breathing exercises, reflexive yoga and a reiki session, complemented with incense and a lavender mister, while an Enya CD played in the background, to bring resolution to her competing chakras.

Oh, and a few Samuel Adams Summer Ale's helped, too.

Once I had her in full balance, she showed me where LarryD had last been seen - and I instantly understood why she was distraught, being that it's May 21st and all.

I took a picture:

Looks like I'll be posting at AoftheA full time now.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bused A Groove...

By now, you've heard of Harold Camping's prediction that the Rapture is going to occur tomorrow, Saturday May 21. To spread the word, he plastered his message on buses in several large cities:

I would so want to follow those buses with some of my own, just to mess with him, you know?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So You Want To Be A Catholic Apologist

(Welcome NewAdvent visitors! Along with everyone from the NC Register and And thanks for stopping by, Mark Shea readers!)

It isn't all that hard, really. There's only a handful of things you need in order to be an effective and successful Catholic apologist.
  1. Faithfulness to the Magisterium.
  2. Love of Scripture
  3. Passion for the truth.
  4. Facial hair.
Actually, all you need is the facial hair.

Scott Hahn

Mike Aquilina

Jeff Cavins

Mark Shea

Jimmy Akin

Peter Herbeck

Curtis Martin

Unless you have a serious 'stache like Patrick Madrid (below), you really ought to include the beard or goatee.

Dr Ray went with the Patrick Madrid look, as you can see. It's turned out very well for him.

Exceptions to the Facial Hair Rule are rare. Steve Ray (below) gets a pass because he has that wild Jerusalem Jones look happening.

And Tim Staples gets to do what he wants, because he's a Marine. He probably knows 75 different ways to kill a man without leaving a mark. Just sayin'.

Oh - and Michael Voris has a sword - who's going to argue with a guy who has a sword? Anyone? I didn't think so.

It takes nearly a week for my 5 o'clock shadow to show up. I will never be a Catholic apologist.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jesus' Second Coming Vs. Oprah's Last Show

(AoftheAP) Producers of Oprah are negotiating with top officials in an attempt to push back the expected Second Coming of Jesus Christ - scheduled for May 21st - until after the final show of Oprah airs Wednesday May 25.

In what's being termed "a monumental snafu of a scheduling conflict", the television magnate is reportedly livid about potentially being upstaged by the man proclaimed by billions to be The Savior of the World.

And with good reason. The possibility exists that countless viewers and fans will suddenly disappear - having been "raptured" up to heaven - which would cause a serious decline in ratings. Several advertisers have threatened to pull their spots if the Second Coming can't be rescheduled.

Many Oprah show devotees are conflicted. Corrine Defabligator, a 34 year old housewife in suburban Chicago, said: "I love Jesus, and I love Orpah too. But it would just kill me if I missed Oprah's final show. I'm considering sleeping with my best friend's husband tomorrow to guarantee I won't get raptured."

One of the producers, requesting anonymity, told AoftheA: "We've been planning Oprah's final show for a full year now. Jesus has had what, nearly two thousand years to return? To me, it's a no-brainer - push it off a week. It's all we're asking."

Calls to Jesus and His production team for comments have not been returned.

Meanwhile, Back At SCHISM Headquarters...

Moonlight streaks through moss-covered trees. Standing in the middle of a clearing is a black-domed structure that wouldn't look out of place as a church in the Archdiocese of LA. It is the secret hideout for the nefarious super-villain group SCHISM [Society of Catholycs Hellbent on Instituting Secular Modernism].

People seated around a large round table in a dimly lit room. One person is standing, a scowl on his face. It's KING KÜNG (aka Hans Küng), leader of SCHISM. With him are REESE'S PIECES (Fr Tom Reese); MCBRAIN (Fr. Dick McBrien); RAINBOW KID (GLBTQ androgynous-looking character); LIVE CURRANT (Fr Charles Curran); COSMIC GIRL (Sr Joan Chittister); and the SOUR PATCH KIDS (YouthGen group at Call-to-Action).

I zink you know vhy I've summoned all of you here tonight.

We're having an American Idol viewing party?

Vhat? No, you fool! I'm talkink about zee recent release of Universæ Ecclesiæ, by our arch enemy, zee German Shepherd.


Apparently, SCHISM agents veeth-in zee Vatican failed in zheir attempt to dilute zee document veeth my Ink Cartridge of Ambiguous Interpretation, or have it printed on my specially treated Phlegmatic Parchment.

If they had been successful, I and my friends at Catholyc publications around the world would have an easier time writing condescending analyses, deflecting its power.

I say, what does it matter. We ought to respond as we have always done.

Vhich is?

Ignore it.

(pounds fist on table)
No!!! Vee must respond veeth active participation!

But what can we do? The German Shepherd -


- wields power borne of the Universal Signature, which binds the Aura of Oneness to his Core Of Ultimate Being. What paths are open to us, armed only with The V2 Spirit and our Formed Consciences of Integral Beatitude?

Does...does any vun know vhat zee heck she's talkink about? Anybody?

I've had conversations with a drunk Teddy Kennedy that made more sense.

Vhatever. My friends, I've devised a counter attack so ruthless, so devious, ingenious zhat even I am amazed.

You're not planning on writing another book, are you?

Yeah - 'Can The Church Still Be Saved?' isn't going to set any sales records, you know.

Vas ist-?

You've written another book?

Is it on Kindle?

Zhis is not about my latest book! Zee book is merely a...a diversion. No, my plan involves so much more. Listen closely, all of you. Vhat is zee one zink zhat conservative Catholics say about us post-Vatican II types?

We're wrong?

Besides zhat.

We make the liturgy about us instead of about God?

Not quite vhat I vas zhinkink...

We've imagined the Vatican II documents to create realities that actually lack existence, and disregard the essence of their interpretive actuality?

KING KÜNG know, your mouth moves and I hear vords, but you still make no sense.

We make up stuff about Vatican II documents, and ignore what they really say.

Ah! Vell, zhat's true, but vhat I'm...

We want to remake the Church in our image?

Of course vee do, but vhat I'm referrink to...

We don't believe in "personal sin"?

Zhat goes veethout sayink, but...

Ooh! Ooh! We focus solely on Social Justice?

(smacks table)
Stop interruptink me!! Your guesses are off zee mark. No - zee vun zink conservative Catholics say about us, is zhat ve're not reproducink. Ve're not replacink ourselves. Ve're dyink out. Vhile zhey go out and breed and breed and breed, ve've remained sterile.

Well, so many of them are much better looking.

And straight.

True, true. And priests fathering children is still frowned upon, unfortunately.

Thus my great master plan. Yes, zhere are too few young, married couples in our cabal, who are open to life. And priests still aren't permitted to sire children. But vee do have one thing in abundance zhey do not.

And what would that be?

Vee have a lot more lesbians. My plan is to impregnate zhem veeth genetically engineered embryos predisposed to our ideology. Vee shall infuse zhem veeth my intellect, COSMIC GIRL's spirituality, MCBRAIN's visdom, REESE'S PIECES' editorial skills, LIVE CURRANT's rationalization and zee RAINBOW KID's flair for fashion.

What about us?

Vell, perhaps if you recruit some vun who's halfvay decent-looking, vee can incorporate good looks, too. In any case, nine months later, a legion of replacements vill be born. Stronger. Faster. Better. Muwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!


Tventy years from now, vhen zhey become fully adult, vee vill have an unstoppable force, poised to defeat Universæ Ecclesiæ!!!

Hang on a sec. This is your "great plan"?

Are you kiddink me? This plan rocks! It's Zee Boys from Brazil - veeth style!

But what about the American Catholic Council? I thought that was your plan.

Ahhh, the ACC. A mere subterfuge, a sleight of hand. Zee ACC vill keep zee Vatican and its crony bishops occupied vhile vee launch zhis plan - secretly. Clandestinely.

I dunno. Two decades before we see the fruits of this plan?

Vhat's your point, RP?

Well, by then, the German Shepherd -


- will be replaced, right? Maybe by someone open to the Spirit of Vatican II. We could work on influencing the next papal election...

Bah! I'm not villink to take zhat chance. Zee Curia is stacked against us. Our only hope is to replace ourselves veeth genetically-designed descendants who vill carry on our vork, and bring about zee true vision of Vatican II, and preserve zee purity of our liturgies, eventually defeatink the Universæ Ecclesiæ! Zhis is zee only hope vee have!

Sounds reasonable to me. So what's next?

Vell, I suggest vee schedule a series of Listenink Sessions, followed up by a conference call involvink all parties concerned. Zhen vee should hold a symposium, complete veeth breakout meetinks, and dialogue. Vunce every vun's opinion has been heard, ve'll publish an outline of zee final plan, get every vun to vote on it, and zhen proceed to zee next phase of zee plan. Agreed?


Ex-cellent! Oh - vun more zhink before you go. Stop in the Genetics Lab downstairs and leave a "sample", vill you?

(aside to LIVE CURRANT)
I don't know about you, but I really hope his accent gets screened.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Abortion Cheerleaders

Despicable. Two "escorts" at a Rockford IL abortion mill actually cheer when a vehicle speeds into the parking lot, past several sidewalk counselors.

"Pro-choice" has nothing to do with choice. It has everything to do with abortion.

s/s Creative Minority Report

Sunday, May 15, 2011

St Francis de Sales Calls Out The ACC

I've been reading St Francis de Sales' "The Catholic Controversy" in the evenings as of late, and I read a passage the other night that is just packed with relevance.

(Excerpts from Chapter 12 - The Church Cannot Err)
Once when Absalom wished to form a faction and division against the good father David, he sat in the way near the gate, and said to each person that went by: There is no man appointed by the king to hear thee...O that they would make me judge over the land, that all that have business might come to me, that I might do them justice. (2 Kings 15) Thus did he seduce the loyalty of the Israelites. O how many Absaloms have there been in our age, who, to seduce and distort the people of Our Lord from obedience to the Church and her pastors, and to lead away Christian lealty into rebellion and revolt, have cried up and down the ways of Germany and of France: there is no one appointed by God to hear doubts concerning the faith and to answer them; the Church itself, the rulers of the Church, have no power to determine what we are to hold as to the faith and what we are not; we must seek other judges than the prelates, the Church can err in its decrees and rules.

But what more hurtful and audacious proposition could they make to Christianity than that? If the the Church can err, O Calvin, O Luther, to whom shall I have recourse in my difficulties? To the Scriptures, they say. but what shall I, poor man, do, for it i precisely about the Scripture that my difficulty lies. I am not in doubt whether I must believe the Scripture or not; for who knows not that it is the Word of Truth? What keeps me in anxiety is the understanding of this Scripture, is the conclusions to be drawn from it, which are innumerable and diverse and opposite on the same subject; and everybody takes his view, one this, another that, though out of all there is but one which is sound:--Ah! who will give me to know the good among so many bad? who will tell me that real verity through so many specious and masked vanities.

Everybody would embark on the ship of the Holy Spirit; there is but one, and only that one shall reach the port, all the rest are on their way to shipwreck. Ah! what danger I am in of erring! All shout out their claims with equal assurance and thus deceive the greater part, for all boast that theirs is the ship. Whoever says that our Master has not left us guides in so dangerous and difficult a way, says that he wishes us to perish. Whoever says that he has put us aboard at the mercy of wind and tide, without giving us a skillful pilot able to use properly his compass and chart, says that the Saviour is wanting in foresight. Whoever says that this good Father has sent us into this school of the Church, knowing that error was taught there, says that he intended to foster our vice and our ignorance. Who has ever heard of an academy in which everybody taught, and nobody was a scholar? - such would be the Christian community if the Church can err.

For if the Church herself err, who shall not err? and if each one in it err, or can err, to whom shall I betake myself for instruction? - to Calvin? but why to him rather than to Luther, or Brentius, or Pacimontanus? Truly, if I must take my chance of being damned for error, I will be so for my own not for another's, and will let these wits of mine scatter freely about, and maybe they will find the truth as quickly as anyone else. We should not know then whither to turn in our difficulties if the Church erred.

But he who shall consider how perfectly authentic is the testimony which God has given of the Church, will see that to say the Church errs is to say no less than that God errs, or else that he is willing and desirous for us to err; which would be a great blasphemy. For is it not Our Lord who says: If thy brother shall offend thee...tell the Church, and if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican (Matt 18).

Do you see how Our Lord sends us to the Church in our differences, whatever they may be? How much more in more serious offenses and differences! Certainly if by the order of fraternal correction I am obliged to go to the Church to effect the amendment of some evil person who has offended me, how much more shall I be obliged to denounce him who calls the Church Babylon, adulterous, idolatrous, perjured? And so much the more because with this evil-mindedness of his he can seduce and infect a whole province; - the vice of heresy being so contagious that it spreadeth like a cancer (2 Tim 2:17).

When, therefore, I see someone who says that all our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers have fallen into idolatry, have corrupted the Gospel, and committed all the iniquities which follow upon the fall of religion, I will address myself to the Church, whose judgment every one must submit to. But if she can err then it is no longer I, or man, who will keep the error in the world: it will be our God himself who will authorize it and give it credit, since he commands us to go to this tribunal to hear and receive justice. Either He does not know what is done there, or He wishes to deceive us, or true justice is really done there; and the judgments are irrevocable.


I conclude then that when we see that the universal Church has been and is in the belief of some article, - whether we see it expressly in the Scripture, whether it it drawn therefrom by some deduction, or again by tradition, - we must in no way judge, nor dispute, nor doubt concerning it, but show obedience and homage to this heavenly Queen, as Christ commands, and regulate our faith by this standard: And if it would have been impious in the Apostles to contest with their Master, so will it be in him who contests with the Church. For it the Father has said of the Son: Hear ye him, the Son has said of the Church: If anyone will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican.
Change a couple names - like Kung for Calvin, or Chittister for Luther - and this 16th century passage is applicable this day and age to the American Catholic Council folks.

St. Francis de Sales rocks!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Caption Contest #21

Leave your caption in the combox!

For winner of Caption Contest #20, click here.

WINNER: Terry Nelson with "Lent is so over!"

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger Blues

Mad Baby wasn't happy about Blogger being down last night and most of today.

It's okay, Mad Baby. Blogger's up and running again.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Prayer For A Red Wings Fan - 2011

There's nothing quite like a Game Seven in NHL hockey playoffs. You hockey fans out there know what I'm talking about.

Detroit Red Wings v. San Jose Sharks, 9:00 PM EST.

What makes this game extra-nerve wracking is that the Wings have come back from a 3-0 deficit, having forced Game Seven by winning 3-1 on Tuesday. With a win tonight, they'll have accomplished what only 3 other teams in hockey history have done - won a series after being down 3 games to none.

With a victory, they will face Vancouver for the Western Conference finals. Look out, Angela!

Here's an amusing tidbit: about 18% of my hits today have come from folks Googling "Red Wings prayer" - the top two results are this post and this one: "Prayer Of The Red Wings Hockey Fan", which I wrote a couple years ago during the Stanley Cup Finals, when the Wings faced the Pittsburgh Penguins.

So I've updated it for this year:

Our forwards
Who art with centers
Hallowed be their game
The win will come
Should checks be done
At the boards
And in the corners.
Give them this game
Their powerplays
And forgive them any bad passes
And don't give the Sharks good chances, defensemen!
And lead them not into high-sticking
But deliver them from losing.

Don't bother me after 9:00.

UPDATE: Oh well. Sharks won, 3-2. Life goes on.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Conspiracies And Controversies

My latest TAC post, dealing with conspiracy theories and Catholicism, where the following is discussed:

The X-Files had the slogan “The truth is out there.” The Church proclaims “The Truth is in here.” Can Catholics have a foot in each camp, as my coworker seems to have, and be effective witnesses to the only Truth that matters?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hans Küng's Latest Book

Hans Küng, the darling of the Catholyc crowd, is issuing a new book, called "Can The Church Still Be Saved?"

Gosh, what an awful title. Not because it might be true - which it isn't, because Christ promised that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church - but because it paints an inaccurate picture of the Catholic Church, something so far from the truth it's nearly laughable. Saved? Saved from what? Saved from whom?

I predict that as long as there are sinners in the world, there will be a Catholic Church. And that gives hope to a rotten sinner such as myself, because it means there's a place for me, a safe haven in which I can receive the graces necessary for salvation. Poor Hans Küng - he must think that the Church will be going bye-bye soon. O ye of little faith. No wonder he worries.

Here's the story about his new book, from The Christian Century:
The Catholic Church is seriously, possibly terminally ill and only an honest diagnosis and radical therapy will cure it, one of the sharpest critics of Pope Benedict XVI, the Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Küng, has written.

Speaking at a sold-out event in the Literaturhaus (Literary Centre) in Munich on 2 May,
Küng who is a former colleague of the pope at the University of Tubingen, introduced his new book, "Ist die Kirche noch zu retten?" ("Can the Church Still Be Saved?").

Küng argues that the malady of the church goes beyond recent sexual abuse scandals. According to him, the church's resistance to reform, its secrecy, lack of transparency and misogyny are at the heart of the problem.

He said that the Catholic church in the United States has lost one-third of its membership."The American Catholic church never asked why," he said."Any other institution that has lost a third of its members would want to know why." He also said that eighty percent of German bishops would welcome reforms.
"Terminally ill"? Rather melodramatic, isn't it? "Radical therapy"? What, tearing out statues, dismantling sanctuaries, liturgical abuses and novelties weren't radical enough?

It seems to me his book's title his incomplete. Perhaps he should have called it "Can the Church Still be Saved...From People Like Pope Benedict XVI?" Because in his mind, the Holy Father, along with Blessed Pope John Paul II, are the ones responsible for the "mess" the Church is in today. And it's up to people like
Küng to save it.

Yeah right. That's like asking the fox to repair the door of the chicken coop it damaged the night before. Pope Benedict XVI is much too wise to fall for that canard.

I wonder how many books he hopes to sell at the upcoming American Catholic Council being held in Detroit next month. The folks there will just lap this stuff up. They believe they are the ones we have been waiting for. They think they have the solutions - doctrine and dogma be damned.

No - heresies and fallacies do not possess the power to build up. They only have the power to divide and destroy.

Here's a bit more from the article:
He told the mostly elderly audience in the Diocese of Munich and Freising, the former diocese of Benedict XVI, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, "I would have preferred not to write this book. It is not pleasant to dedicate such a critical publication to the church that has remained my church."

He said he had hoped that Benedict would find a way forward in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) which in the early sixties reformed the church in a number of ways, such as the celebration of Mass in local languages instead of Latin.
"Mostly elderly audience"'s what the ACC will feature too. That's a trend amongst the Catholycs. The Holy Father and most of the Vatican are elderly and older men, but that's what you might expect at the top of a large, global organization. Those with experience tend to lead (current President is an exception). Thing is, with these Catholyc groups, elderly and older folks permeate the entire organization, from top to bottom, from leadership to the regular member. There is very little youth to speak of.

And I wish Küng and other "intellectuals" like him would be a bit more intellectually honest. Last I checked, the Summorrum Pontificum, which liberated the use of the Extraordinary Form, didn't curtail or eliminate the celebration of the Mass said in local languages, did it? And yet many claim that Vatican II did away with the Latin Mass, despite the fact that nowhere in the Vatican II documents is that stated. What are these people afraid of?

That's a rhetorical question - I know what they're afraid of: that more and more people will see how irrelevant and destructive the Catholycs' ideas have been and are. And it's becoming more evident with every book they publish.

note: I haven't read Küng's book, and I don't plan to. My opinion is based solely on this article and my familiarity with Catholycs.

Sunday, May 8, 2011 Gaia's One Of The Best Mom's...Ever!

So has published a list of the 10 Best Mothers Ever from the world of pop culture. They came up with a list of the 10 Worst Mothers, too - but who in their right mind celebrates the worst of something on a day like Mother's Day? I guess some folks at do that.

On top of that,'s list of 10 Best Mothers Ever included such pop culture gems as Gaia at number 3, and the Alien Queen Mother (from the Aliens movie) at number 10. I know - stupid, right?

Here's what the brainiacs at said about Gaia:
Greek gods and goddesses have their own set of morals that have nothing to do with how things roll in the world of mere mortals. So don't hold it against Gaia that she married her son Uranus (look it up, it's real), and had him later castrated — that's just how the Greek deities did their thing. What is important here is that Gaia, also known in English as Mother Earth, is responsible for the things we love on this planet. Things like: the oceans, the skies, the fields, the plains. Respect Mother Earth and you respect yourself.
This is the same Gaia that also gives us earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and winter, isn't it? Or are those things the kind of chastisements a loving mother gives her kids to keep 'em in line? I dunno - Earth worship ain't my thing.

Regarding the Alien queen mum...
Fans of the Aliens movie franchise most likely remember the Queen alien as a force of intergalactic evil. True, she is the mother who lays the molten eggs, which eventually turn into lots of mean little buggers that seem to exist solely to torment Sigourney Weaver's Ripley and kill everyone close to her. But what is the Queen really doing when she spews acidic saliva and hurls her inner mandibles toward a human's neck? She's protecting her babies, trying to find them safe haven and nutritious food to make them grow into big, strong healthy aliens. Like all good moms, she will take out anyone who is a threat. Focused (perhaps to a fault) on guarding her young, she is the ultimate mother warrior. And she doesn't even expect her kids to buy her flowers on Mother's Day. Now, that's a champ.
Perhaps it's all tongue in cheek, but the thought of admiring an alien as a Great Mother leaves me wondering - does the author have mommy issues or something?

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms who didn't make the lists - I'm sure you're grateful.

Friday, May 6, 2011

'On Faith' Mother's Day Column: Use More Contraceptives!

Nothing says "Happy Mother's Day!" quite like an IUD. Sick.

From The Washington Post: This Mother's Day, Support Family Planning by Debra Haffner
There’s nothing I’m prouder of than being the mother of two children, now 17 and 25. Both were planned, both were very much wanted, and as Mother’s Day approaches, I reflect on how blessed I am to have each of them as part of my life.
Lucky for her kids they were planned and wanted. Just think how unloved they would be, how resentful she would feel, if they were anything but. Yo Debra - great that you feel blessed and proud and all - but there are a lot of moms out there who love and feel pride about their unplanned kids, too. I'd like to think my mom is proud to have me as a son, unplanned as I was, for instance.
But we know that all too often, and for too many women, this is not always the case. In the United States alone, half of all pregnancies are still unintended, despite widespread availability of contraception. In nations lacking access to family planning services, the situation is even more dramatic, with new analyses showing that unintended pregnancies around the world could drop by more than two thirds, from 75 million in 2008 to 22 million per year if universal family planning services were available.
See, according to Debra, the only good pregnancy, the only worthwhile pregnancy, is a planned pregnancy. This anti-life pro-pleasure mentality brings with it it's own set of peculiar curses: hubris, disdain and a sense of haughty omniscience. To her, an unintended pregnancy is a prison term, or a stigma.

And "universal family planning services" also refers to sterilization. To me, that's the only way to quickly drive down the number of unintended pregnancies. Did you know, for instance, that Rwanda is looking at providing vasectomies for nearly 700,000 men in three years? They might not be forced vasectomies, and they might not be targeted at the poor or undesirables - but such programs can easily be manipulated, and do a great disservice to human dignity.
It is inconceivable to me that some who are anti-abortion are also anti-contraception. As the Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Justice states: “The sacredness of human life is best upheld when women and men create human life intentionally and women are able to have healthy pregnancies and childbirths. We affirm women and men as moral agents who have the capacity, right, and responsibility to make their own decisions about procreation, including family size and the spacing of their children.”
It's inconceivable (what, is that supposed to be irony)?? That some who are pro-life are also anti-contraception? Does she not realize that some forms of birth control are abortifacient? Apparently so. Does she not realize that increased use of contraceptives leads to an increase in abortion? I guess not. Does she not recognize that sexual relations between a husband and wife are sacred and holy, and that outside of marriage, it's evil - which is where most unintended pregnancies occur?

Maybe so. Notice how intentionally subjective that religious statement is. Use of the terms "women and men" (pro-feminist switch there, didja notice?) rather than "wife and husband" - showing that she apparently doesn't believe that sexual relations is only holy and sacred within a marriage. No mention of God - setting up the man and woman as sole arbiters of what is moral, sacred and good.

That's not a religious statement at all - it's a purely secular humanist one. Intentionality is sacred; healthfulness is holy - implications that unplanned is evil, and difficulties or imperfections are bad. These are the attitudes of the Elite and Know-Betters. They certainly aren't Christian beliefs.

There's more at the WaPo - I've cited more than I care to. Click here to read the rest, if you want.

This article is not about celebrating motherhood. It's an article celebrating pure and unadulterated liberal feminism, which is anti-motherhood. Motherhood is about service and sacrifice, unconditional love and care for the children God has blessed her with. It's about denying the self and discovering joy and happiness in the process of giving one's self to the other. There's a certain depth and breadth to motherhood that fatherhood can never hope to reach. Motherhood is a gift to the child and the family, and the mother receives much more than she gives in return.

What kind of insane world must Debra live in, where limiting motherhood is the best Mother's Day present a mom could receive?

Note: The Rev Debra Hafner is a Unitarian Universalist, and was the CEO of SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States) for 12 years. Draw your own conclusions from that...

The ACC Bill Of Wrongs - Part Four

(This is the fourth in a series analyzing the American Catholic Council's (ACC) Catholic Bill of Rights & Responsibilities [CBRR], wherein each of the ten delineated 'rights & responsibilities' are discussed.)

3. Universal Ministry. Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to proclaim the Gospel and to respond to the community's call to ministerial leadership.

This one's a biggie for the ACC. Let's just cut to the chase here - Right #3 can be substituted with two words: Women's Ordination.

The first half of the statement is a no-brainer - yes, as Catholics, we are expected to evangelize the world, proclaiming the Good News in all that we do and say. They even quote Canon Law at their site:
Code of Canon Law #211: All the Christian faithful have the duty and right to work so that the divine message of salvation more and more reaches all people in every age and in every land.
Although part of me suspects that what the ACC wants this to mean, is that anyone - any Catholic - should be allowed to read the Gospel during Mass, not just an ordained bishop, priest or deacon.

And here's an interesting thing. The ACC also quotes, at the same site, Canon #216 (bold mine):
Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have the right to promote or sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to their own state and condition. Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.
Did they really mean to include the bold portion? Which competent ecclesiastical authority gave their consent to allow this group to appropriate the name "Catholic"? Last time I checked, Call-to-Action and Women's Ordination Conference are not ecclesiastical authorities - except perhaps in their own minds. Not one bishop or cardinal has endorsed this group. In fact, Archbishop Vigneron of the Archdiocese of Detroit stated in October of last year, that no parish or priest in the archdiocese is permitted to advertise or promote the ACC. That doesn't sound like consent to me. Thus, on their own site, and by citing Canon Law, it appears the ACC has shot themselves in the foot.

And don't try to sell me the line that "ordained" womynpreests are competent ecclesiastical authorities. They are neither competent nor ecclesiastic, and have authority over no one.

If the first half of the statement is the gravy, then the second half is the meatloaf. "Ministerial leadership" is code for women's ordination, primarily. To the ACC, it does more, as stated on CBRR Applications page, but it's mostly about womynpreests:
3. Universal Ministry:
  • The Church will return to its earliest tradition of welcoming both married and celibate priests;
  • Women would freely discern and test their calls to holy orders and would be eligible for ordination alongside their brothers;
The first bullet point, as most know, is a discipline and not a doctrine. It may change in the future, it may not. The laity certainly do not have the authority to make changes to the discipline (hearkens back to the "competent ecclesiastical authority" bit); the topic itself is not closed for discussion.

Unlike the second bullet point. This issue is definitively closed, no matter what the ACC and their followers think. And given that the Holy Father has just forced Australian Bishop Morris to resign over his support of so-called women's ordination (among other things), they ought to strongly reconsider their own support. Of course they won't, but if they were smart, they'd at least give it some serious consideration. The Holy Father's action may embolden US bishops to act more strongly in response to the members of this group. Which would be a good thing, in my opinion.

One last point -the wording for this right. The ending reads " respond to the community's call to ministerial leadership." Last I checked, it's God who calls people in their particular vocations, not the community. It's God who calls men to the priesthood. Sounds like the ACC has as much use for God in their group as they do the Vatican - close to none at all.

Maybe God will oblige. Perhaps He already has.

Part Five will look at Right #4: Freedom of Expression. Every Catholic has the right to freedom of expression and the freedom to dissent.

Part One; Part Two; Part Three

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Catholic Hairstyles

At AoftheA, we work extremely hard to stay ahead of developing Catholic culture, to provide cutting-edge commentary on important issues and emerging trends. We possess a relentless commitment to remaining on the leading-edge of whatever it is we're trying to lead, so that you, the faithful reader, can remain informed, educated and enlightened.

AoftheA has discovered that insufficient reporting exists in regards to Catholic hairstyles. Were you to Google "Catholic hairstyles", you get...nothing. What, you mean you never knew there was such a thing as "Catholic hairstyles"? Fortunately you've come to the right blog.

After days and days long hours about thirty minutes of extensive pains-taking research, the AofhteA Department Of Commentary On Important Issues and Emerging Trends has identified several classifications of Catholic hairstyles.

The Unkempt Ruff

Fancy yourself the smartest man in the room, and want to appear so busy with being smart that you don't have time for you hair? The tousled tangled look of the Unkempt Ruff is for you then. And no one wore it better than GK Chesterton. The epitome of paradox obviously spared little time for his hair. Of course, should you opt for this style, it helps if you are smart to begin with.

The Crusading Crew

Consider yourself a man? You know, a man's man? Are you man enough to withstand infantile Justin Bieber comparisons? Are you man enough to defend the Church tirelessly, uncaring that your hair is distractingly similar to a teen-age heartthrob's? Then get yourself the Crusading Crew, and go out there and kick some infidel butt. Sword not included.

The Pfleger Pflair (or Pflip)

This is the style for the guy who wants those temple veins to be easily visible when they're popping out as he delivers Social Justice homilies and White Man's Burden sermons. It's the pompadour for the pompous.

The Hair-etic Sweep

Maybe you're the soft-spoken type that wants to shy away from the bombastic Pfleger Pflair. That's okay - that only means you're better suited for the Hair-etic Sweep. You appear thoughtful and intelligent because your unnaturally large forehead is prominently displayed. It's important to show others from a distance that you have Great Ideas percolating beneath that Sweep. They'll figure out later that maybe your Great Ideas aren't so great after all, once you open your mouth, but until then, wow! What a big forehead!

The Crown Of Thorns

Honestly, I have no idea who this is, or how many beers he drank, or whether or not he realizes that some of his dorm mates tonsured him when he was passed out. It's possible he's on his way to joining a monastery, but I highly doubt it.

The Dorsal

This is how Terry does up his hair for First Friday masses. He likes to freak out the ladies who say their rosaries before Mass. It's not a Catholic hair style per se, but it deserves mention.

And should Rowan Williams ever convert, his eyebrows will most certainly be given a category all their own.

Now you know. Granted, this is not an exhaustive list. Your hair style might not be noted. That's okay. God knows the number of hairs on your head, and even if you're trying to hide a bald spot or two.

One more thing - you might have noticed that only men's hairstyles have been included. There's a very good reason for that - because women should either be wearing a chapel veil or a wimple.


Don'y Try This On Your Next Safari

Amazing vid of a woman encountering a pack of cheetahs at an African wildlife sanctuary managed by her and her husband. The last thirty seconds or so are something else.

She's got guts.

I wonder if she's ever heard of Roy Horn?

Anyway - here's a link to the story that goes with the video.

And here's the translation of the overdubbed French:
If I lower myself down to their level, they'll approach as we appear to be be of similar size ... I'm doing this to show how cowardly they are, not to tease them ... But also, to get a rush of adrenaline ... As soon as you turn your back on them, they attack ... As soon as you look them in the eyes, they're afraid of you ... If you run, you're prey. But, if you turn around, they stop ... I think they've had enough.